Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

DIY: Last minute gift ideas & printable gift tags

My fellow procrastinators, we are officially down to the wire. Christmas is a mere 2 days away, which means if you haven’t started shopping yet, forget about the mall for gifts—your local gas station’s Quickie Mart is your best bet. But don’t fret; there are plenty of useful items at the Quickie Mart. For example, what 12-year-old can resist the lure of a quart of 10W 40 motor oil? Or what about a delightful basket of road snacks “with a fresh pine scent”? And nothing screams “holiday cheer” like a stocking full of Slim Jims.

That said, if you really want to impress people and have only 48 hours to do it, it’s time to head to the kitchen. There are plenty of cheerful, well-loved things you can whip up that are sure to deliver happiness. Three quick ideas:

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Free food, yummy cookies and more

My CaptureI’m drooling here. I am being inundated with luscious photos of desserts, recipes, emails about free food and all sorts of delicious food-related goodness. So I figured I would share. We ran this photo of cookies being made at P*DE*Q on the front page this morning. The story that accompanies it is about Valley food producers jumping into gluten-free and other specialty markets. And here’s a gallery of photos from the G-Free Foodie box club and P*DE*Q. (And by the way, a story about the upcoming Fresno Food Expo was on the business page today.)

Today’s food page was chock full of taters. My colleague’s story about potato appetizers for the Super Bowl has recipes for Dusty Buns‘ bistro fries, potato lollipops from Trelio and others. My column about the House of JuJu restaurant opening in Clovis ran next to it.

But I just don’t want to pimp my own stuff here, especially since there’s free food involved.

  • Panda Express is celebrating Chinese New Year on Friday with a free serving of Firecracker chicken breast. You need to print out this coupon or show it to them on your phone.
  • On Monday, the Yogurtland in River Park will be celebrating National Frozen Yogurt Day with free yogurt and toppings between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Customers will also get a spoon that changes colors when it gets cold.
  • After the internets got all excited about Carl’s Jr.’s strawberry pop tart ice cream sandwich, the fast-food chain is debuting its successor, the snickerdoodle ice cream sandwich. It’s a scoop of vanilla ice cream sandwiched between two snickerdoodles. For a limited time (they don’t say how long), customers can get a free snickerdoodle sandwich with the purchase of any Philly cheesesteak burger combo. It costs $1.49 on its own, but here’s a 50 cents off coupon.

A virtual cookie exchange


UPDATE #2: In case you want to make one more batch of cookies before Christmas Day, here’s the winner of the “Santa’s Christmas Cookie Recipe Contest” at River Park. Pattie Browne scored $500 in River Park gift certificates and other prizes for her oatmeal blasts. Recipe after the jump, below the wedding cookies.

(Disclaimer: I was in Hawaii at the time of this contest, so I haven’t tasted these cookies or tested the recipe. But I’m told her cookies beat out more than 50 other entries.)

UPDATE: Here’s another recipe for you: double-chocolate brownie pops from today’s paper. They’re not cookies, but they easily keep for a week.

And they’re popular. Dessert caterer Natalie Wilbur of The Dotted Apron says the brownie pop is her most-requested item.

ORIGINAL POST: It’s time to stock up on flour, sugar, and oh yes, lots and lots of butter. You know what I’m talking about: the annual holiday cookie exchange.

Here on The Beehive, we’re doing a virtual cookie exchange — as in, post your favorite cookie recipes here. (Or links to them, anyway.)

To get us started, here’s the recipe for James Collier’s Carrot Cake Cookies. These yummy cookies took first place at Mike Oz’s cookie party last year.

After the jump are the wedding cookies local art dealer Fred Savala serves at his annual bash. (See the photo above.) This recipe makes 85 cookies. It may seem like a lot, but trust me, they go quickly.

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